CCK, Another Hormone That Affects Weight

By Natalie Ledbetter CRNA, DAcOM

The last few weeks I have been writing about hormones that affect hunger, satiety, metabolism, and weight. This week I am highlighting cholecystokinin (CCK), another hormone that affects weight. This hormone is released by the intestines after you eat to tell your body that you are full. CCK is also important for energy production, protein synthesis, and digestion.

When the hormones that help control hunger, satiety, and how your body responds to food are in the proper balance, it is much easier to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. There are a few actions you can take to increase CCK (and these actions also happen to improve the other hormone levels as well).


After losing a lot of weight, the intestines decrease CCK secretion which can leave you feeling hungry even after eating more than your body really needs for fuel. Ketosis resets CCK levels so can be a useful tool if you have plateaued after weight loss before reaching your goal weight. Intermittent fasting can put you into temporary ketosis and can be used if you do not want to go full-on keto.

Women’s hormone balance can be disrupted by being in ketosis too long, so if you are female limit your time on a keto diet. Cycle off ketosis after one to two months. If you felt great on the keto diet or have more weight you want to lose and want to use keto for this, you can do cycles of keto for 1 to 2 months followed by an organic whole food diet for 1 to 2 months, and then repeat the cycle as desired.

Protein and healthy fat

Protein and fat stimulate CCK release more than any other stimulus. Eating carbs only releases small amounts of CCK. Eating plenty of protein and some healthy fat helps increase CCK levels so eat high quality protein and some fat with every meal. If you are not very active, 0.4grams of protein per pound of body weight (0.8 grams per kg) is the recommended amount to prevent losing muscle mass. If you are trying to build muscle, 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight is recommended.

 Limit intake of unhealthy oils such as canola, safflower, soybean, etc. and focus on eating small amounts of fat from coconut oil, avocado, cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, and from organic grass-fed animals and animal products including butter and ghee.


Evidence supports regular exercise increases CCK levels, so get out there and move. Take a walk, a hike, ride a bike, dance, lift heavy things. What you do is not as important as just doing it.


There are multiple hormones that affect health, hunger, satiety, metabolism, and weight. Optimizing hormone balance leads to better overall health, body function, and quality of life. Cholecystokinin (CCK) is one of the hormones that affects our relationship with food and plays an important role in achieving and or maintaining a healthy weight. Follow these tips above to optimize your CCK levels.

Interested in more hormones that affect weight?

Ghrelin is important in a healthy weight and affects cravings.

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